malpractice insurance for Doula's? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 05-31-2009, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was just reading my Doula manual from CBI about malpractice insurance and desided to search the internet to see what I could find to see if anyone else has it or thinks you might need it. I came across this http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Lawsui...n)-a0115079964 and it made me think it was a good idea. does anyone have insurance and if so who do you use?
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#2 of 21 Old 05-31-2009, 01:18 PM
 
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That is an interesting story. To my knowledge no one has yet every sucessfully won a case against a doula anywhere in the country (and this case still seems to be active).

The rice pack thing was a bad idea, though. You should never offer deep massage, heat, or cold to a woman who is medically numbed because she can not necessarily feel that it has gotten too hot.

I don't carry any insurance (and don't have much worth sueing me for either!) and I don't plan to get any. I do work very hard to stay within the scope of practice at all times, which really limits any liability a doula could face. If it makes you feel more comfortable to have it, though, then you should look into it for sure.

Megan Davidson, Labor & Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Counselor, Anthropologist, Mom to August (9) and Clay (4), Partner to Shawn.

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#3 of 21 Old 05-31-2009, 03:17 PM
 
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I do have insurance through CM&F. I carry it because even though someone might not have successfully won a lawsuit it does cost money to defend oneself if someone decides they want to try and sue. Unfortunately in our sue happy world I wouldn't consider working without it - I simply would not want to chance someone trying to sue and me having to put forth my hard earned money to defend myself and if they won having that judgement hanging over my head for the rest of my life.

Like the previous poster said I do work within my scope, but even when doing that you simply do not know (let's face it there was that woman who sued McDonalds because their hot coffee was too hot and she won - so anything is possible).
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#4 of 21 Old 05-31-2009, 06:04 PM
 
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Wow that is some story!
You really never know.:

I personally always carried the Cotterell Mitchel & Fifer postpartum doula insurance when I was seeing clients on a regular basis. It's so cheap.
Some of my doulas in my service carry the insurance, some choose not to.

Here is a situation where Insurance is good thing to have because as a doula you have nothing!!!
One of the ppdoulas in my service cut off the tip of her finger making lunch for a client (in the clients kitchen), if the doula had pp doula insurance, the insurance contract says it would have reimbursed her emergency room visit, and the follow up finger specialist she had to see, she has no health insurance. The doula policy also covers to pay the ppdoula for the work with the client she could not complete because of her injury.

~ ~ ~

Here is a different type of circumstance I know of. I don't think labor doula insurance would have made a difference, possibly have made it much worse or prolonged the agony of a lawsuit for the mom and the doula, instead after settling with the hospital the client dropped the case aganist the labor doula.

My dear friend was a labor doula, and she also worked as a CBE on staff at the hospital, she took on doula clients privately, and her clients baby died during a long vbac labor from meconium aspiration.

Everyone on staff was included and swept up into the lawsuit all the RN's, doctors and midwife and Childbirth Educator. The doula got sued separately by the client's lawyer. The doula had no money, nothing, she could never defend herself or pay for a lawyer to help her.

The hospital settled out of court, but the lawyer wanted to pursue the doula until the client put a stop to it.
It finally got dropped by the client.
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#5 of 21 Old 05-31-2009, 06:18 PM
 
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It is so sad, but true. Even if one does nothing wrong when the lawsuits start flying through everyone can be named and unfortunately even though the law says innocent until proven guilty one must still find some way of proving they are innocent which costs money. We had something that happened in my community and the doula also got swept up on the lawsuit and she had to hire an attorney to prove she was innocent. In the end nothing came of her part of it, but it still cost her money to prove she was innocent.

When an attorney is brought in they don't care if you are innocent or within your scope or whether you have nothing to be sued for.
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#6 of 21 Old 05-31-2009, 06:45 PM
 
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Michelle,
After this happened my friend stopped working in the birth community. It really shook her up, both the death and her possible responsibly in the way she educated and helped this VBAC mom, there was a whole issue about encouraging the mom to labor at home for a long time, endless second guessing and self blame and doubt that everyone lives with forever.
It dragged on for ages and shook her to her core the baby's death and devastation to the family.
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#7 of 21 Old 06-04-2009, 08:48 AM
 
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That story is pretty strange. Even rice packs that were heated for a little longer than average wouldn't cause blistering and scarring. And most epidurals don't cause the mom to completely lose skin sensation. Anyway, I have a really hard time believing the story as it is presented. If someone here is personally related to that story, then forgive me, but at first glance it sounds like a story someone made up to get doulas to buy insurance.

Anyway.....I had insurance when I worked for a doula company (because the company required it). However, I was never satisfied that the insurance I purchased (CM&F) truly covered labor doulas. Everything in their literature talked about ppdoulas; there was nothing at all that said ANYthing about labor doulas. When I called the company, I got a verbal reassurance that they cover "all doulas" but really, the scope of practice is so different from a labor doula to a ppdoula, that I never really felt protected anyway. There was nothing in my policy that pertained to potential bad outcome with the birth, which in my opinion is what worries labor doulas the most. I think if an insurance company came out with a true labor doula policy, I would consider buying it (if it was affordable) because....well, why not? It would definitely make my husband happy! And make me feel a bit more confident for when that bad outcome does happen (and I honestly believe that, sad as it is, when you work in birth it is just a matter of time until there is some type of negative outcome). In the meantime I just try to be very clear in my contract that I'm not a medical professional, and always try to keep my contract in mind when I'm dealing with my clients.
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#8 of 21 Old 06-04-2009, 05:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Contented73 View Post
And most epidurals don't cause the mom to completely lose skin sensation.
I can't speak on behalf of the case, but I can tell you that I had an epidural with my seventh child and was so numb I felt nothing - lost all sensation and I have seen plenty of moms get such strong epidurals that they lose skin sensation as well. Perhaps it is where you live that epidurals aren't given so strongly, but I have seen a good number where I live that are super high dose - no feeling whatsoever and absolutely zero control of legs.
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#9 of 21 Old 06-05-2009, 09:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Contented73 View Post
That story is pretty strange. Even rice packs that were heated for a little longer than average wouldn't cause blistering and scarring. And most epidurals don't cause the mom to completely lose skin sensation. Anyway, I have a really hard time believing the story as it is presented. If someone here is personally related to that story, then forgive me, but at first glance it sounds like a story someone made up to get doulas to buy insurance.

Anyway.....I had insurance when I worked for a doula company (because the company required it). However, I was never satisfied that the insurance I purchased (CM&F) truly covered labor doulas. Everything in their literature talked about ppdoulas; there was nothing at all that said Anything about labor doulas. When I called the company, I got a verbal reassurance that they cover "all doulas" but really, the scope of practice is so different from a labor doula to a ppdoula, that I never really felt protected anyway. There was nothing in my policy that pertained to potential bad outcome with the birth, which in my opinion is what worries labor doulas the most. I think if an insurance company came out with a true labor doula policy, I would consider buying it (if it was affordable) because....well, why not? It would definitely make my husband happy! And make me feel a bit more confident for when that bad outcome does happen (and I honestly believe that, sad as it is, when you work in birth it is just a matter of time until there is some type of negative outcome). In the meantime I just try to be very clear in my contract that I'm not a medical professional, and always try to keep my contract in mind when I'm dealing with my clients.
Sure an over heated rice pack can burn sensitive skin on your belly. Especially if you were numb from an epidural ( I had an epidural and I had no sensation). So if an overly heated pack was put on my belly it would burn my skin. Try overheating a rice pack, it does become blistering hot!

I agree with you the language on the CM&F does not seem to cover labor doula attending the birth or performing labor doula duties in a hospital.

The reason this policy focuses is on PPdoula is because PPdoulas were the doulas before "labor Doula" and got this policy created. I remember when the policy was written for us, we had a now defunct organization NAPCS, and a committee of doulas (all "doulas" in the late 1980's early 1990's were "postpartum doulas" back then!) a lot of us childbirth educators were with clients at births but were the "labor coach" as it was called) the PPdoulas committee worked with CM&F to underwrite that policy.

I'm surprised that DONA has not engaged the company for a policy to be more explicitly written for the scope of a Labor doulas.

Unless there is some other company that wrote a policy for Labor doulas.
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#10 of 21 Old 06-05-2009, 02:28 PM
 
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Skin that is numbed from epidurals are not the same as skin that is not. There is not the same resistance from the vessel walls so circulation is not as good. If circulation is comprimised, then the blood does not carry away the heat from the tissue as well, hence, easier to blister.
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#11 of 21 Old 06-05-2009, 03:20 PM
 
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I'm surprised that DONA has not engaged the company for a policy to be more explicitly written for the scope of a Labor doulas.

Unless there is some other company that wrote a policy for Labor doulas.
There's no need to. The language of the PP policy covers any work the doula does from conception through a few months postpartum. If a doula is truly that worried over the validity of the coverage CM&F will send an one page addendum that clearly states it covers the birth doula and birth doula services. I had them send it to me years ago when I first took out a policy with them.

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#12 of 21 Old 06-05-2009, 07:59 PM
 
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There's no need to. The language of the PP policy covers any work the doula does from conception through a few months postpartum. If a doula is truly that worried over the validity of the coverage CM&F will send an one page addendum that clearly states it covers the birth doula and birth doula services. I had them send it to me years ago when I first took out a policy with them.
Thanks for this info did not know they would send an addendum for labor doulas.
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#13 of 21 Old 06-05-2009, 09:04 PM
 
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subbing

Amazing Mama Birth Services
CD(DONA) and Birthing From Within Mentor and Birth Doula
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#14 of 21 Old 06-12-2009, 11:04 AM
 
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How do you go about obtaining this CM&F insurance that is being mentioned. I would love some additional information. TIA!

Sara - - PreK Teacher, Birth Doula, Wife to Shaun (8/13/05), Mama to Caleb (8/17/06), Chance (6/22/08), and Brielle (10/31/09) - - - winner.jpg

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#15 of 21 Old 06-12-2009, 11:11 AM
 
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How do you go about obtaining this CM&F insurance that is being mentioned. I would love some additional information. TIA!
I am in the process of doing this myself. I called them yesterday to confirm what was said by others. As a birth doula and CBE we are in the category of postpartum care provider, and this covers the period from conception to 6 months after birth.

Here's the website. http://www.cmfgroup.com/ You select that category and your state. Read through the policy and download the PDF. You fill it out and then either fax or mail it and you are covered.

Hope that helps!

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#16 of 21 Old 06-13-2009, 04:45 PM
 
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Great - thanks! I'm going to check into it!

Sara - - PreK Teacher, Birth Doula, Wife to Shaun (8/13/05), Mama to Caleb (8/17/06), Chance (6/22/08), and Brielle (10/31/09) - - - winner.jpg

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#17 of 21 Old 06-13-2009, 09:29 PM
 
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I am genuinely amazed to hear that doulas have this kind of insurance. I'm happy to hear that it is cheap!

Most midwives don't have malpractice and we don't even want it; it paints a big huge red target on your back. Most attorneys won't pursue a case where they have little chance of getting paid. You can't get blood from a turnip. Malpractice insurance on the other hand is practically guaranteed money for them.

"If you only knew how many things I want to say and don't, you'd give me some credit."
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#18 of 21 Old 06-14-2009, 02:12 PM
 
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I am genuinely amazed to hear that doulas have this kind of insurance. I'm happy to hear that it is cheap!

Most midwives don't have malpractice and we don't even want it; it paints a big huge red target on your back. Most attorneys won't pursue a case where they have little chance of getting paid. You can't get blood from a turnip. Malpractice insurance on the other hand is practically guaranteed money for them.
How does an attorney know that a midwife has liability insurance or not? While some may be required to carry it to practice in a hospital, there's no way to know that an individual is carrying malpractice insurance. Once the suit is started they still don't know.

This is one of those fallacies that really bothers me. No one knows unless you disclose.

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#19 of 21 Old 06-14-2009, 03:07 PM
 
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Well, I actually have every client sign a piece of paper that discloses that I don't carry malpractice insurance. But I am quite sure that an attorney is not going to sue someone with no money and no insurance (huge time-waster w/ no payout), so there must be some way for the attorney to find out before a lawsuit is filed.

"If you only knew how many things I want to say and don't, you'd give me some credit."
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#20 of 21 Old 06-14-2009, 04:06 PM
 
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How does an attorney know that a midwife has liability insurance or not? While some may be required to carry it to practice in a hospital, there's no way to know that an individual is carrying malpractice insurance. Once the suit is started they still don't know.

This is one of those fallacies that really bothers me. No one knows unless you disclose.
Because in some states midwives are legally required to disclose to clients as part of their informed consent if they have malpractice insurance or not. So, every client would know from the first appointment if they had it or not.

Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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#21 of 21 Old 05-23-2011, 09:37 AM
 
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I know this is an old thread.  I'm hoping someone can help me.  Is there any other insurance agency that insures doulas besides CM&F?  Their coverage is not offered in Indiana. 


A, WOHM hoping to be a SAHM married to E (7/7/01), mama to R :: (2/8/08) : : hopeful for ::
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